Vandalism is the malicious damage or destruction of someone else’s property. It can take many forms from graffiti to smashing windows in a car. It is generally prosecuted under Penal Code Section 594(a).
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The consequences of malicious mischief or vandalism can be unexpected, such as loss of driving privileges even though the conduct had nothing to do with driving. For this reason it is crucial that you have an attorney who specializes in these types of criminal charges and really knows the intricacies of the law.
There are many ways to defend against a vandalism charge by focusing on: misidentification, alibi, lack of motive, some other person did it, lack of evidence, physical impossibility, etc. Often these crimes of vandalism occur with very few witnesses, at night or under circumstances that could lead to many suspects, not just the one who gets charged.
Restitution is always a primary concern for the prosecution. Many times creative alternative sentencing can be an option, especially when combined with restitution.
Vandalism is often charged as an additional charge in domestic violence cases where some piece of property has been damaged or destroyed in an argument. If your lawyer is not aware of the additional penalties that a conviction for vandalism or malicious mischief carries, he might think it is a lesser charge and encourage you plead guilty to it without realizing how significant and serious the conviction really is.
We have handled many, many cases of vandalism, from graffiti to wholesale destruction of a home’s interior. This is an area where creativity on the lawyer’s part, combined with a thorough knowledge of the law can make all the difference.